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Demographic Fear in Northern Ireland Politics, Society and Space. Owen McEldowney David McNair Stuart Lavery Centre for Spatial and Territorial Analysis and Research (C-STAR) School of Geography Queen's University Belfast Belfast BT7 1NN [email protected] [email protected]

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Demographic fear in northern ireland politics society and space l.jpg

Demographic Fear in Northern Ireland Politics, Society and Space

Owen McEldowney

David McNair

Stuart Lavery

Centre for Spatial and Territorial Analysis and Research (C-STAR)

School of GeographyQueen's University BelfastBelfast BT7 1NN

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]



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“There is inescapable evidence that there has been a change,"

“This will concretise the view that for nationalists and republicans this is the end phase. There is a majority emerging.”

Guardian, April 12, 2001 ‘Collapse of Ulster deal feared: Sinn Fein seeks to combat anti-agreement unionists


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"The countdown scenario is emerging" change,"

Guardian, April 12, 2001 ‘Collapse of Ulster deal feared: Sinn Fein seeks to combat anti-agreement unionists

[Republicans feel] "a sense of destiny".

Guardian, April 12, 2001 ‘No agreement: But the future in Ulster need not be bleak’


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“There change," is no nationalist majority in Northern Ireland, nor is there any likelihood of one. The Belfast Agreement represents a transition to a normal peaceful society, not to a United Ireland.

“…….there is no dynamic within the Belfast Agreement towards Irish unity, nor does any such desire exist in Northern Ireland.”

Belfast News Letter, April 13, 2001, Friday ‘REALITY DAWNING ON SF – TRIMBLE 'AGREEMENT DOES NOT PROVIDE THE DYNAMIC FOR UNITY'


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David McKittrick, Headlines change," , Independent, February 11 2002

‘Unionists filled with foreboding at loss of influence’

‘Protestants losing majority in Northern Ireland’

‘THE PROTESTANT majority in Northern Ireland, the mainstay of the state for eight decades, may have almost disappeared, demographic experts believe.’


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“CATHOLIC MAJORITY' SPARKS UNITY CALL” change," Belfast News Letter December 16, 2002, Tuesday ULSTER Unionist MP Jeffrey Donaldson has called for unionist unity as the prospect of a Catholic majority voting for an all-Ireland threatens to become a reality.The anti-Agreement Assembly member was reacting to a census which will this week reveal that the Protestant population has fallen below 50 per cent for the first time in the history of the state.


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"Nationalists can't have it both ways. change," "They can't claim the consent of the majority isn't sufficient for a system of government and on the other hand claim that massive constitutional change would only require the consent of an overall majority "

December 16, 2002 Irish News ‘A united Ireland could be a reality’’


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"What would be needed would be a majority within each community, because that has been the only agreed way of making any governmental decision within Northern Ireland."Any practical deal has had to be cross-community because it must be something that does last, and not just a decision for one year which could be reversed the next year."

Irish News, December 16, 2002, ‘A united Ireland could be a reality’


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  • "I believe the community, because that has been the only agreed way of making any governmental decision within Northern Ireland.census will confirm the pro-union population is shrinking to the extent that for the first time it will represent less than 50%."It is understandable that unionists are nervous and unsure about the future given the demographic trend, but refusal to face change will not prevent it."

    Belfast Telegraph December 16, 2002 Protestants drop below 50%: SF claim [my italics]


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Sunday Tribune, community, because that has been the only agreed way of making any governmental decision within Northern Ireland. 15 December 2002, Susan McKay ‘Northern State of Confusion’

“A Nationalist Party could easily emerge as the largest party after the scheduled assembly elections”

“Imagine if Gerry Adams was swaggering around New York as the leading politician in Northern Ireland? Do you think I am scaremongering? Believe me I am not.”


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[United Ireland is] “not even a remote possibility”. community, because that has been the only agreed way of making any governmental decision within Northern Ireland.

“The figures are much better than many people were predicting but I don't like to rely on some sort of sectarian head count”

‘Republican hopes dashed after census say unionists’ December 20, 2002 Irish News


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“Catholic share of the population [will] never reach 50 per cent and certainly not in the next 20 to 30 years.” (paraphrased)

“The challenge therefore for nationalism and republicanism is to stop dreaming that they can either breed or bomb Northern Ireland out of the UK and start to genuinely cooperate with unionists"


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‘Bombed Out, Blown Out and Bred Out!’ per cent and certainly not in the next 20 to 30 years.” (paraphrased)


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DUP assembly member Edwin Poots said one of the major points raised by the figures was the relatively high number of young Protestants leaving to study or work in England and Scotland."It is the responsibility of universities and employers to provide career opportunities to retain these young Protestants in Northern Ireland and for politicians to address the perceived chill factor in existence at present”

December 20, 2002, Irish News


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Unionist fear of the election points raised by the figures was the relatively high number of young Protestants leaving to study or work in England and Scotland.


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1998 Assembly Election points raised by the figures was the relatively high number of young Protestants leaving to study or work in England and Scotland.


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2003 Assembly Election points raised by the figures was the relatively high number of young Protestants leaving to study or work in England and Scotland.


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2003 Assembly Election points raised by the figures was the relatively high number of young Protestants leaving to study or work in England and Scotland.


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Unionist fear of the referendum points raised by the figures was the relatively high number of young Protestants leaving to study or work in England and Scotland.


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1998 Good Friday Agreement points raised by the figures was the relatively high number of young Protestants leaving to study or work in England and Scotland.

‘CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES’, ANNEX A, SECTION 1

DRAFT CLAUSES/SCHEDULES FOR INCORPORATION IN BRITISH LEGISLATION

1. (1) It is hereby declared that Northern Ireland in its entirety remains part of the United Kingdom and shall not cease to be so without the consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland voting in a poll held for the purposes of this section [..].

(2) But if the wish expressed by a majority in such a poll is that Northern Ireland should cease to be part of the United Kingdom and form part of a united Ireland, the Secretary of State shall lay before Parliament such proposals to give effect to that wish as may be agreed between Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom and the Government of Ireland.


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Good Friday Agreement points raised by the figures was the relatively high number of young Protestants leaving to study or work in England and Scotland.

[…]

SCHEDULE 1

POLLS FOR THE PURPOSE OF SECTION 1

1. The Secretary of State may by order direct the holding of a poll for the purposes of section 1 on a date specified in the order.

2. [..]the Secretary of State shall [do so] [..].. if at any time it appears likely to him that a majority of those voting would express a wish that Northern Ireland should cease to be part of the United Kingdom and form part of a united Ireland.

3. The Secretary of State shall not make an order under paragraph 1 earlier than seven years after the holding of a previous poll under this Schedule.


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Whilst unionists, the majority, could not pass a motion banning hare coursing, if nationalists ever became the majority, a vote of fifty percent plus one could lead Northern Ireland into a united Ireland.

This is a ludicrous arrangement, to which the UUP agreed. It is only because there does not appear to be the slightest chance of a majority of people in Northern Ireland supporting a united Ireland that this issue is not of greater immediate importance. It does however reflect an inept negotiating strategy by the UUP. An intelligent negotiator would be guarding for the future as well as the present.



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Demographic Fear at community level banning hare coursing,


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Demographic Fear at community level banning hare coursing,

  • Fear of cultural decline

  • Fear of local territorial contraction

  • Fear of Demographic / Socio-economic decline


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Fear of cultural decline (1) banning hare coursing,

Source: http://www.irishnews.com


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Fear of cultural decline (2) banning hare coursing,

“Its not just threat from Catholic neighbours. They see in the protestant community something that they don’t understand. It is inherently threatening. It involves a lot of paramilitary domination and buying into that philosophy of life, and a lot of the members of the congregation here are not prepared to do that.”

Protestant Minister – West Belfast


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Fear of local territorial contraction (1) banning hare coursing,

Source: Orange Standard (Publication of the Orange Order)


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Fear of local territorial contraction (2) banning hare coursing,

“we’ve seen it here. The Catholics have completely overtook a lot of what was ours here in Suffolk. I’ve seen it, and we are such a small tiny wee community surrounded by Catholics. You can’t walk in and out of this estate. Whenever I came here at 5 year old, we could walk away up the top near Black Mountain and you were safe. There was no Catholics there. You cant do that now. I don’t know where this all came from and it’s got to be breeding…

Protestant Female Resident – Suffolk – West Belfast


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Fear of local territorial contraction (3) banning hare coursing,

Source: “Cluan Place – Still British the cry is no surrender” – The Union Jack Shop

Source: Ulster Review, Summer 2003


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Fear of local territorial contraction (4) banning hare coursing,

Source: East Belfast Observer 13 March 2004


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Fear of Demographic / Socio-economic decline (1) banning hare coursing,

“This is an increasingly elderly area because the Protestant ethos of the younger people is up and out. Those who stay around are those who are unable to [leave] economically. Fundamentally it’s because of an individualistic bent within Protestantism in general, whereas there’s much more of a communitarian philosophy within the Catholic community...Protestant areas are left quite disempowered in terms of human resources.”

Protestant Minister – West Belfast


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Fear of Demographic / Socio-economic decline (2) banning hare coursing,

“If you were a Catholic, you got it slapped round your ears –get educated – the only way out of here is to get educated. Working class Protestants on the other hand didn’t have to worry about getting educated – you’d get an apprenticeship…Protestant working class children are loosing out. With the demise of the Shipyard, shipbuilding and all that…Catholics got educated and went into other spheres of work like law, education, community, public sector. Protestants didn’t go for that cause they seen their area as industry. But now the industry has gone down, there's a void there.”

Trade Union Representative


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Fear of Demographic / Socio-economic decline (3) banning hare coursing,

Source: The Independent 3.5.2004




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